For my friends, on the left, I just want to say, prepare for a Republican sweep this November. They’ll most likely take the Senate. And they’ll most likely take the Massachusetts Governorship.
If you watched the debate last night, you know that Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley are running against each other and three minor candidates: progressive Evan Falchuk, venture capitalist Jefferey McCormick, and Neanderthal man Scott Lively. (Lively, it turns out, is a despicable human being who as the president of Abiding Truth Ministries was involved in promoting anti-gay legislation in Uganda that almost resulted in the imposition of the death penalty for consensual gay activity.) In any case, Baker is likely to win this election for two reasons: first, he’s a highly competent candidate in the classic Massachusetts Republican mold — socially liberal, fiscally conservative, reminiscent of Bill Weld, Frank Sargent and Ed Brooke — and second, he’s simply more likable than Martha Coakley. For her part, Coakley is a reasonably competent but completely uninspiring middle of the road Democrat whose positions are not sharply at odds with Baker’s. This is bipartisanship, Massachusetts style: Republican Governor, Democratic Legislature. I may vote for Falchuk — the Donald Berwick vote — but it’s not going to make any difference. I liked his contributions to the debate, at least.
On the Senate side, there are too many Democratic incumbents in traditionally conservative states — Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Hampshire and North Carolina — for the Dems to hold the Senate. Bernie Sanders is an independent in Vermont, and Kansas may get an independent in Greg Orman if he defeats the Republican Pat Roberts. (The Democrat has actually dropped out, causing a legal challenge in Kansas where the Republicans wanted him to stay on the ballot.) In any case, the Republicans are likely to have the slimmest of majorities, not that it really matters, because there’s going to be nothing but gridlock for the last two years of Obama’s presidency whether the Senate swings this way or that way.
I’m inclined to hold my nose and let the Senate be Republican for two years. That will demonstrate that the national Republican party of 2014 is completely out of ideas. There are more Republican incumbents facing challenges in 2016, and it may also make it more likely that the Dems can recapture the White House in 2106. Although it does beg the question of whether it even matters. It doesn’t look like either party will be able to generate anything substantial in the next few years one way or the other.